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Evidence #1

Paris, 1900. More than fifty million people from around the world visited the Universal
Expositiona worlds fair intended to promote greater understanding and tolerance among
nations, and to celebrate the new century, new inventions, exciting progress. The 20th century
began much like our ownwith hope that education, science and technology could create a
better, more peaceful world. What followed soon after were two devastating wars.
The Path to Nazi Genocide
The first world war, from 1914 to 1918, was fought throughout Europe and beyond. It became
known as the war to end all wars. It cast an immense shadow on tens of millions of people.
This is not war, one wounded soldier wrote home. It is the ending of the world. Half of all
Frenchmen aged 20 to 32 at wars outbreak were dead when it was over. More than one third of
all German men aged 19 to 22 were killed. Millions of veterans were crippled in body and in
spirit. Advances in the technology of killing included the use of poison gas. Under the pressure
of unending carnage, governments toppled and great empires dissolved. It was a cataclysm that
darkened the worlds view of humanity and its future. Winston Churchill said the war left a
crippled, broken world.
Aftermath of World War I and the Rise of Nazism, 1918-1933
The humiliation of Germanys defeat and the peace settlement that followed in 1919 would play
an important role in the rise of Nazism and the coming of a second world war just 20 years
later. What shocked so many in Germany about the treaty signed near Paris, at the Palace of
Versailles, was that the victors dictated a future in which Germany was deprived of any
significant military power. Germanys territory was reduced by 13%. Germany was forced to
accept full responsibility for starting the war and to pay heavy reparations. To many, including
30-year old former army corporal Adolf Hitler, it seemed the country had been stabbed in the
backbetrayed by subversives at home and by the government who accepted the armistice. In
fact, the German military had quietly sought an end to the war it could no longer win in 1918. It

cannot be that two million Germans should have fallen in vain, Adolf Hitler later wrote. We
demand vengeance!
Many veterans and other citizens struggled to understand Germanys defeat and the uncertain
future. Troops left the bloody battlefields and returned to a bewildering society. A new and
unfamiliar democratic form of governmentthe Weimar Republicreplaced the authoritarian
empire and immediately faced daunting challenges. Thousands of Germans waited in lines for
work and food in the early 1920s. Middle class savings were wiped out as severe inflation left
the currency worthless. Some burned it for fuel. Economic conditions stabilized for a few years,
then the worldwide depression hit in 1929. The German banking system collapsed, and by 1930
unemployment skyrocketed to 22%. In a country plagued by joblessness, embittered by loss of
territory, and demoralized by ineffective government, political demonstrations frequently turned
violent. Many political parties had their own paramilitary units to attack opponents and
intimidate voters. In 1932, ninety-nine people were killed in the streets in one month. Right
wing propaganda and demonstrations played on fears of a Communist revolution spreading from
the Soviet Union.
New social problems emerged from the impact of rapid industrialization and the growth of cities.
Standards of behavior were changing. Crime was on the rise. Sexual norms were in flux. For the
first time, women were working outside the home in large numbers, and the new constitution
gave women the right to vote. Germanys fledgling democracy was profoundly tested by the
crumbling of old values and fears of what might come next. Adolf Hitler had been undisputed
leader of the National Socialist German Workers Partyknown as Nazissince 1921. In 1923,
he was imprisoned for trying to overthrow the government. His trial brought him fame and
followers. He used the jail time to dictate his political ideas in a book, Mein KampfMy
Struggle. Hitlers ideological goals included territorial expansion, consolidation of a racially
pure state, and elimination of the European Jews and other perceived enemies of Germany. He
served only a short jail sentence, and after the ban was lifted on his National Socialist Party,
Hitler and his followers rejoined the battle in the streets and in the countryside.
The Nazi Party recruited, organized, and produced a newspaper to spread its message. While
downplaying more extreme Nazi goals, they offered simple solutions to Germanys problems,
exploiting peoples fears, frustrations, and hopes. In the early 1930s, the frequency of elections
was dizzying. So was the number of parties and splinter groups vying for votes. Hitler proved to
be a charismatic campaigner and used the latest technology to reach people. The Nazi Party
gained broad support, including many in the middle classintellectuals, civil servants, students,

professionals, shopkeepers and clerks ruined by the Depression. But the Nazis never received
more than 38% of the vote in a free national election. No party was able to win a clear majority,
and without political consensus, successive governments could not effectively govern the nation.

Adolf Hitler was not elected to office and he did not have to seize power. He was offered a deal
just as the Nazis started to lose votes. In January 1933, when the old war hero, President Paul
von Hindenburg, invited Hitler to serve as Chancellor in a coalition government, the Nazis could
hardly believe their luck. The Nazis were revolutionaries who wanted to radically transform
Germany. The conservative politicians in the new Cabinet didnt like or trust Hitler, but they
liked democracy even less, and they saw the leftist parties as a bigger threat. They reached out to
the Nazis to help build a majority in Parliament. They were confident they could control Hitler.
One month later, when arson gutted the German parliament building, Hitler and his nationalist
coalition partners seized their chance. Exploiting widespread fears of a communist uprising, they
blamed Communists for the fire, and declared emergency rule. President Hindenburg signed a
decree that suspended all basic civil rights and constitutional protections, providing the basis for
arbitrary police actions.
The new governments first targets were political opponents. Under the emergency decree, they
could be terrorized, beaten and held indefinitely. Leaders of trade unions and opposition parties
were arrested. German authorities sent thousands, including leftist members of Parliament, to
newly established concentration camps. Despite Nazi terror and brutal suppression of their
opponents, many German citizens willingly accepted or actively supported these extreme
measures in favor of order and security. Many Germans felt a new hope and confidence in the
future of their country with the prospect of a bold, young charismatic leader. Nazi propaganda
chief Joseph Goebbels planned to win over those who were still unconvinced.
GOEBBELS [speaking German]:
One must govern well, and for good government one must also practice good propaganda. They
work together. A good government without propaganda is not more possible than good
propaganda without a good government.
Hitler spoke to the SA, his army of storm troopers.

HITLER [speaking German]:

Germany has awakened! We have won power in Germany. Now we must win the German
Building a National Community, 1933-1936
The ceremonial reopening of Parliament, orchestrated by Joseph Goebbels, aimed to link the
Hitler government to Germanys imperial past and portray the Nazis as saviors of the nations
future. The event was carefully staged to reassure the German establishment, including the
military, that Hitler would respect their traditions. Nazicontrolled newsreels then gave the
impression that the Army supported the new government. Though Hitler walked behind longtime
President Hindenburg for now, the new chancellor would soon be Germanys absolute dictator.
Today was dedicated to the New Germany. And more than one hundred thousand schoolchildren
stood, shoulder to shoulder, as the car bearing the aged President and the Chancellor proceeded
through the crowd to the speakers stand. Whether you agree with his doctrines or not, it must be
admitted that the leadership of Hitler has united the German people for the first time since the
war. Their almost fanatical enthusiasm is a marvel to the entire world
Hindenburg remained President until his death in August 1934. With Hindenburg gone, Hitler, by
agreement with the army, abolished the office of President, declaring himself Fhrer and Reich
Chancellor, leader of the nation and head of the government. Now there was no authority above
or beside him. Immediately, the armed forces swore an oath of allegiance to Adolf Hitler.
GERMAN ARMED FORCES [taking oath in German]:
I swear by God this sacred oath to the Fhrer Adolf Hitler to render unconditional obedience
All civil servants, including teachers and police, members of parliament and the judiciary, swore
an oath of loyaltynot to any constitutionbut to Hitler as Fhrer of the German nation.
The economy had reached rock bottom when the Nazis came to power. They boosted its recovery
with huge public works projects for the unemployed.


A half million folk comrades have gone back to work this year. Since the takeover of power,
unemployment has fallen by more than half.
Hitler christened new autobahns triumphantly in a display of national will that would unite the
country and facilitate the secret expansion of Germanys armed forces. In 1935, Germany openly
defied the 1919 Treaty of Versailles by reinstituting the draft and increasing its military strength.
The Nazis were delivering on their promises to restore and strengthen the nation. Their
achievements encouraged many people to overlook radical Nazi policies, or even to support
them. In September 1935, the Nazi Party gathered in Nuremberg for its annual rally. It opened
with a traditional hymn that added solemnity and a sense of continuity with the past. It ended
with a special session of Parliament far from Berlin. New race laws were introduced by Hitler
and read by Parliament President Hermann Gring.
GRING [speaking German]:
German citizenship is restricted to persons of German or kindred blood. Marriages between Jews
and citizens of German or kindred blood are forbidden. [Cheering]
The Nazi regime aimed to create a racially pure Germany whose so-called superior traits
would make it ideally suited to rule the entire European continent. Nazism taught that racial
struggle was the driving force in historysuperior races must battle inferior races or be
corrupted by them. The Nazi concept of a national community was exclusive and based on race,
as defined in the new laws and decrees. Heinrich Himmler and the SS led the ideological battle.
Racist ideas were taught in schools. Some groups, such as Jews, Slavs, Blacks and Roma (also
called Gypsies) were labeled racially inferior. People with mental or physical disabilities were
designated unworthy of life. Scientists and medical professionals applied pseudo-scientific
theories for measuring and valuing racial characteristics.
From Citizens to Outcasts, 1933-1938
Before the Nazis assumed power, Jews enjoyed all rights of citizenship in Germany. After 1933,
the German government gradually excluded Jews from public life and public education. Newly
established Jewish private schools provided a safe learning environment for some. By 1938,

German authorities had isolated and segregated Germanys Jews, expelling them from the
professions and eliminating most opportunities to earn a living.
We felt so why cant we be part of it? Why cant we? Everybody said, Heil Hitler, like this.
I did, too. What did I know? I was eight years old. So my mother said to me, Youre not
supposed to do that. I said, Why not? She said, Havent you been told that you are Jewish?
I said, Oh, I forgot.
Germanys Jews would get plenty of reminders.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a boycott of Jewish shops. Please keep moving.
This sense of isolation that came upon us after 1933, gradual and increasing, it also affected us
psychologically. We knew we were in a hostile world.
Between 1933 and 1939, the German government enacted hundreds of laws to define, segregate
and impoverish German Jews.
My sister and I used to slink by those huge banners that were all over the city. And we used to
just try not to see them, thinking if we didnt see them, they werent there. But they were there.
That just, little by little, that really took over.
JULIUS STREICHER, Der Strmer Editor [speaking German]:
without a solution to the Jewish question, there will be no solution for humanity.
The goal of Nazi propaganda was to demonize Jews and encourage Germans to see Jews as
dangerous outsiders in their midst. After 1935, everyday antisemitism was a regular part of
carnival parades and floats. Public displays of antisemitism reinforced a climate of hostility
toward Jews in Germany, or at the least, indifference to their treatment. In March 1938, German
troops moved into neighboring Austria. Germany shredded another provision of the Versailles

Treaty, as Hitlers homeland was incorporated into Germany. It was a disaster for Austrian Jews.
Within a year, the Nazis achieved in Austria what had taken five years to carry out in Germany.
On November 9th, the Nazi Party orchestrated an outbreak of anti-Jewish violence throughout
Greater Germany. It was a lawless onslaught that outraged the world and provoked criticism of
the regime by many Germans. Jewish businesses that had already suffered antisemitic attacks
were targeted for deliberate vandalism disguised as spontaneous public action. Party officials
directed the SA, SS and Hitler Youth to destroy Jewish shops and torch synagogues. Over 7,000
Jewish-owned businesses were vandalized. Germans named the violent attacks Kristallnacht
Night of Broken Glassfor the shattered windows of Jewish-owned stores that littered the
streets. The nationwide violence damaged or destroyed more than 250 synagogues.
After Kristallnacht, I remember driving through Berlin and seeing the synagogues in flames and
all the glass on the streets, and the people huddled and depressed. They walked around like the
victims, like the hunted.
German police filled the concentration camps with thousands of Jewish inmates. The SS released
them only if they agreed to emigrate. But Jews faced increasingly restrictive immigration quotas
in most countries and bureaucratic hurdles in Germany. A new law issued in October 1938
required Jews to surrender their old passports, which would be valid only after the letter J was
stamped on them. Two months later, another law prevented the flight of capital owned by Jews,
when the Economics Ministry froze all Jewish property and assets. Many who had the means and
somewhere to go tried to leave Germany. Some families sent their children alone to other, safer
countries. They could not know how soon the world would be at war.
World War II and the Holocaust, 1939-1945
As the Nazi regime implemented its long-standing goal of territorial expansion, aggression
against Germanys neighbors initially succeeded without encountering armed resistance. Hitler
counted on the reluctance of Britain and Europe to intervene, for fear of another war. The
German occupation of Prague, capital of Czechoslovakia, left no doubt as to Germanys intent on
military conquest in Eastern Europe. On September 1, 1939, a massive German force invaded
and conquered Poland within a month. It was the start of the Second World War. In April 1940,

Germany occupied Denmark and Norway. In May, the German armed forces attacked France, the
Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium. In June, Paris fell and France surrendered. The swift and
unexpected victory over France avenged Germanys defeat and humiliation in the First World
War. It propelled Hitler to a new level of popularity and trust among the German people. In June
1941, the German Army, with more than three million soldiers, invaded the Soviet Union to
wage a war of annihilation that targeted tens of millions of civilians. Under conditions of war and
military occupation, the Nazi regime could pursue its political and racial goals with more radical
measures. As German troops advanced into eastern Europe, Germanys power extended over
millions more Jewish inhabitants in the occupied lands, where German authorities could exploit
existing anti-Jewish attitudes among local populations.
Across eastern Europe, German authorities forced those identified as Jews into tightly packed
areas called ghettos. Separated from the non-Jewish population, Jews in the larger ghettos were
imprisoned behind brick walls and barbed wire. The German drive eastward was cast as a
crusade against Judaism and Communismin the Nazi view, two aspects of the same evil.
German soldiers and police officials treated Soviet prisoners of war as sub-humans, either
shooting them or deliberately causing their deaths by exposure to the elements and by starvation.
Millions died in German captivity. On the eastern front, racial political instruction was part of
regular training for all types of German occupation forces. SS chief Heinrich Himmler referred
to the war against the Soviet Union in an address to his men: This invasion is an ideological
battle and a struggle of races. Here in this struggle stands National Socialisman ideology based
on the value of our Germanic, Nordic blood On the other side stands a population of 180
million, a mixture of races whose very names are unpronounceable, and whose physique is such
that one can shoot them down without pity and compassion In July 1941, Hermann Gring
Hitlers secondincommandauthorized all necessary preparations for the final solution of
the Jewish question in the European territory under German control.
As German military forces advanced, mobile killing squads advanced with them. The German
Army, military SS and German police units took an active part in authorized mass murders. The
Germans and their accomplices rounded up the victims, drove them on foot or in trucks to a
killing site, often made them remove their clothes, and shot them. Participants in the murders
included local collaboratorsespecially policein Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine and
Belarus. The German killing squads and their auxiliaries murdered at least two million Jewish
men, women and children in mass shooting operations.

Back in Germany, SS and police deported the remaining Jews to the occupied eastern territories.
In German-occupied Warsaw, the walled ghetto that German Jews entered as newcomers in 1942
was already a place of mass suffering due to terrible overcrowding, lack of sanitation, disease
and starvation imposed by the Germans. Despite all efforts of the imprisoned Jews to find ways
of surviving and sustaining their communities, those conditions increasingly led to death for
scores of thousands. Most vulnerable were the orphaned children.
Originally, German occupation authorities established ghettos to concentrate Jews and separate
them from the non-Jewish population. Later in the war, many ghettos served as staging grounds
for the transportation of Jews to the east, euphemistically called resettlement by the Germans,
who promised their captives better conditions and opportunities to work. People endured
unimaginable suffering on journeys that lasted days, without food, water, or toilet facilities.
Many of the weak, the young, and the elderly died before reaching the destination.
The Germans and their collaborators deported roughly 2.7 million Jews and others to killing
centers in German-occupied Poland. At the largest of the camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau, transports
arrived from all across Europe.
LILLY MALNIK, Auschwitz Survivor:
Transports were coming in every day, people with all kinds of different languagesHungarian,
Poles, Czechoslovakians, from Holland, from France, from Belgium, from Germany, from Italy,
Russians. They were from everywhere.
NORBERT WOLLHEIM, Auschwitz Survivor:
My wife was somehow waving to me, and thats the last Ive seen of her.
FRITZIE FRITZSHALL, Auschwitz Survivor:
The smell, gas chambers. When I asked, When will I see my mother?I was shown the
smoke. This is how I found out where she went.
ERNEST KOENIG, Auschwitz Survivor:
It took a long time until I started to realize that we are condemned to die. All Jews are
condemned to die.
Those whom the SS judged unable to work were killed, often within two or three hours of
arrival. Those who could work would be used for forced labor, under punishing conditions.

When they could no longer work, they, too, would be put to death. In several killing facilities,
exclusively designed to kill human beings on an industrial scale, camp authorities used poison
gas to murder children, women and men. At these killing centers, nearly half of all Holocaust
victims died.

The camps of Majdanek and Auschwitz were the first liberated, as Soviet troops reached Poland.
News of Majdaneks liberation in summer 1944 was met with disbelief. The New York Herald
Tribune said, Maybewe should wait for further corroborationthissounds
inconceivable... In April 1945, US troops in Germany and Austria came upon concentration
camps at Buchenwald, Dachau, Nordhausen, Mauthausen and Ohrdruf. The soldiers saw the
camps with their own eyes, and the truth was undeniable. General Dwight Eisenhower,
Commander of the Allied liberating forces, wrote: The things I saw beggar description. The
visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were
overpowering In American movie theaters, newsreels made witnesses of thousands more.
One commentator said, To future generations it must be told: Once man did this to his brothers.
In the 20th century there existed a civilization which for twelve years returned to barbarism.
Shock permeated the camps as liberating troops tried to grasp what they had found. Soldiers did
all they could to attend to the dead and to support the living. Those who survived faced the slow
task of reclaiming their dignity and returningsomehowto life.
The Holocaust darkened the worlds view of humanity and our future. As the world struggled to
understand what had happened, a new word, genocide, was needed for these crimescrimes
committed by ordinary people from a society not unlike our own.